While state workers are passed over for the eighth year in a row, Florida’s election supervisors could be getting a raise. A bill that would do just that is ready for the Governor’s signature.
The state’s average supervisor of elections rakes in about $100,000 a year, depending on the size of the county they serve. While $100,000 is no chump change, supervisors do make less than their fellow constitutional officers, like tax collectors and property appraisers. Representative Frank Artiles of Miami says there’s a reason for that pay disparity.
“In 1960 the Florida Legislature took on the responsibility to pay constitutional officers to provide a uniform salary system. In the 1960s most county officials were men, but most supervisors of elections were women. And their primary duty was to tally paper election ballots once every two years, so their salaries were considerably lower than other male county officers. Today supervisors are responsible for administering all federal, state, county, municipal and special elections in counties,” he said.
While the work of the original supervisors was mostly clerical, modern responsibilities are staggering. Some supporters like St. Pete Representative Dwight Dudley say the pay should match the job.
“This comes under the heading of it’s never the wrong time to do the right thing. We should be fair and catch them up in the pay that they historically have been denied,” he said.
But opponents like Representative Matt Gaetz of Shalimar cast the measure as the worst kind of political back-scratching.
“Members, this is nothing more than politicians feeding politicians by giving pay raises to other elected officials. And frankly, if we’re doing pay raises then I say we do pay raises for all state workers and not pick out a select group of people,” he said as lawmakers applauded.
Predictably, that across the board pay bump did not happen. Still, Representative Blaise Ingoglia of Spring Hill says supervisors make enough already.
“My county, Hernando County, this will constitute a raise of almost $20,000. The average person in my county makes almost $30,000. So just this raise alone will mean that this raise will be almost two thirds of what the average person in my county makes!” he said.
Nonetheless, most members, like Representative Dennis Baxley of Ocala, rallied around the measure.
“It’s wrong! This is a huge piece of responsibility. It should be recognized. They’re working very hard right now to implement our late-developing maps. And I think it’s time to recognize they’re in this tier of operation and they should be treated just the same as the other officers at this level,” he said.
While lawmakers ultimately passed the pay equity measure, the bill does little for Florida’s overall wage gap. In the Sunshine State, women on average make 85 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts. African American women take home 61 cents and Hispanic women a mere 59 cents. The measure just barely slipped through the House with a 58 to 54 vote. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.